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Nearly 30 percent of French Muslims are against secular laws

Nearly 30 percent of French Muslims are against secular lawsJust under 30 percent of France's 3 to 4 million Muslims reject the country's secular laws, Reuters reported on Sunday, citing an Ifop poll in the French weekly Journal du Dimanche.

When asked if they considered the Islamic legal and moral code of sharia to be more important than the French Republic's laws, 29 percent of respondents answered "yes."

The poll found that 20 percent of male Muslim respondents and 28 percent of female Muslim respondents were in favor of the face veil, the niqab, and of the burqa which covers both face and body.

Another 60 percent said they were in favor of letting girls and women wear a head scarf at schools and universities which is forbidden at France's secular public institutions.

The Ifop poll contradicted previous estimates which said Muslims made up to 10 percent of France's population of some 65 million. It said Muslims represented 5.6 percent of the country's citizens aged 15 and over and 10 percent of under 25s. It said 84 percent of France's Muslims were under 50.

It can be difficult to establish the religious background of French citizens because the country's secular laws forbid the collection of data on religion and ethnicity.

There are also many people who may be of Muslim descent, but do not necessarily consider themselves Muslims.

The poll, commissioned by the think tank Institut Montaigne, was conducted by phone between April 13 and May 23 among 1,029 people aged 15 and older who were of Muslim faith or culture, extracted from a sample of 15,459 people.
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